What is Marketing Automation and Should I Be Using It?
You may have heard the term marketing automation, but are unsure of what is and what it means. Marketing automation is not a new concept, the principles of marketing automation have been around for years. Marketing automation allows you to apply both the sales tools and processes available to you digitally in one tidy software hub. As a salesperson working with new clients every day, our company has found that the simplest way to educate those in the manufacturing industry regarding the principles of marketing automation is to relate it to their own sales process, how their sales team works and improving distribution support. All three of these sales processes listed are considered nurturing great B2B relationships, both to your current distribution channels, any new distributors you would like to pick up, and to the end users of your products. Your success depends upon how well your products (or your brand) is promoted by your distributors, or if you happen to also sell direct, how well you support the online sales process with new prospects.
Let's use a familiar example: Amazon.com. Amazon uses marketing automation to deliver personal messaging, immediate and relevant product information as well as follow up. The use display ads to stay in front of you and suspiciously always seem to know what you are thinking. Ultimately, they keep you intrigued and coming back to their site to complete your purchase.
Market Effectively: Who Is Your Audience?
Let’s look at this model for your distribution channels. Do you want your distributors to market your product more effectively? Would you like them to be more knowledgeable, or place more priority on your line? The first step is to define who your end users are (this should be reevaluated every few years) and how buyers, purchasing agents, engineers and business owners interact with a distributor via the web as it changes over time. As users find new ways to source for your products online, how we deliver information to them will also change over time (i.e. video, white paper, technical spec documents, CAD, infographics, private site logins etc…). If your distributors are not keeping this in the forefront of their prospecting mentality, it is up to you to take some responsibility.
Once we know who the end user is, mindset, industry and geography we can begin creating the content to put into your distributors hands. The goal here is brand awareness and continuity across every digital channel online and distributor locations nation and worldwide. Not only do we want to give them instant access to all your marketing and sales materials, we need to get the high priority products in front of them: a new product line, end of season inventory, discontinued inventory, etc. There are many reasons why you want to let distribution know particulars about what is going on in your company, marketing automation allows you automate and organize this entire process. You may even have all your distributors and their sales people on shared project management software and CRM. That can get very involved, so we will leave those details for another post.
Marketing Automation Strategy: Content, Content, Content
If you have an online marketing campaign in place using SEO, paid search, article marketing, press and all that good stuff (all of which is incorporated into your marketing automation strategy) then you are most likely trying to educate the end users of your products that you are the best choice for them. Now that you have your customer on your site, how do they go about buying your product and how easy is that buying process? Marketing automation can help deliver the best content to your prospects by guiding them through the buying path which also allows you to stay in front of them over time with continually relevant information (think Amazon again).
Back to our manufacturing industry analogy: think of an engineer, what do they like? Engineers seek highly relevant content for the application they are trying to fulfill. This can be delivered with landing pages for white papers, technical specs, CAD or videos along with the downloadable content. Finally, using your marketing automation software, you can collect e-mail addresses, add them to the CRM, tell them WHERE TO BUY and stay in front of your customer with personalized targeted content for your engineering prospects. This abundance of content along with automated software allows your business to sell successfully right from your website.
Tailored messaging and content, timed delivery and persistent follow up to anyone who needs to know about your company and products is the name of the game. Page One is a certified HubSpot Partner and we believe that this marketing automation tool is the very best on the market. Request a free assessment below if you would like help managing your inbound marketing campaign!
This blog is part of a series of blog posts prepared for industrial manufacturers to gain insight on how to improve your business using modern internet marketing tools like marketing automation software and customer relationship management (CRM) software. Read other blogs in this series: